How to Stop and Prevent a DDoS Attack on WordPress

How to Stop and Prevent a DDoS Attack on WordPress

As a WordPress website owner, you should stay updated about lurking dangers. These can significantly blow your credibility and other aspects, like finances or the number of genuine visitors that trust your website.

This resource helps users describe, address, and prevent WordPress security issues, such as a DDoS attack on a WordPress website. We’ll understand the level of damage it can cause, its various types, how to detect a DDoS attack, and what measures can be taken to protect your WordPress site from a DDoS attack.

What Is A DDoS Attack On WordPress?

A DDoS is an attack where an attacker sends requests to a single target through several compromised computers and networks, so much so that the targeted system becomes busy and stops responding to requests from legitimate users.

In the context of a WordPress site, a DDoS attack involves hackers attempting to flood the website’s server with traffic. The intent here is to exhaust a website’s resources, such as server capacity and bandwidth, to slow it further down. As such, the website becomes unavailable to users. In the worst-case scenario, the targeted server may even crash.

Damage DDoS Attack Can Cause To The Website

Damage DDoS Attack Can Cause To The Website

A DDoS attack can be detrimental to a WordPress website in several ways. Look at some key impacts of a DDoS attack on a WordPress site.

How Does a DDoS Attack Impact a WordPress Site?

Negative User Experience

A DDoS attack on a WordPress site can lead to slow loading times, complete unavailability, or error messages. These can increase the bounce rate and harm your website’s credibility.

Bad SEO Impact

Continuous downtime caused by a DDoS attack on a site can gravely impact its rankings in major search engines like Google. They interpret poor user experience or frequent unavailability as indicators of low-quality content.

Additional Vulnerabilities

A DDoS attack can compromise site security mechanisms, which hackers may find easy to access resources via a back door. It can also divert you from potentially more dangerous malware attacks.

Loss of Revenue

If you run an e-commerce website on WordPress, downtime resulting from a DDoS attack can lead to loss of sales, advertising revenue, ad impressions, and leads. You may incur a considerable revenue loss.

Why Do DDoS Attacks Happen?

Even though DDoS attacks are not as invasive as other attacks, a hacker may carry out a DDoS attack on your WordPress website for several reasons. Some of these are mentioned below –


A hacker may continue a DDoS attack or keep flooding your servers on your WordPress website unless and until you pay a certain ransom.

Undermine Competition

A competitor of your website may carry out DDoS attacks in the wake of undermining your website’s reputation.

Espionage and Cyber Warfare

DDoS attacks may disrupt government services, critical infrastructure, or communications networks in cyber warfare. They may even serve as a vehicle to gather intelligence or sabotage enemy operations.

Related Reading: How to make your WordPress website more Secure

Botnet Renting and Sales

Cybercriminals may rent or sell access to networks of compromised devices, botnets, or other hackers to launch DDoS attacks. Botnet-as-a-service (BaaS) platforms enable individuals with minimal or no technical expertise to execute DDoS attacks.

Security Testing

Only occasionally may a DDoS attack be carried out with the intent to harm someone. Instead, ethical hackers and security researchers sometimes conduct DDoS attacks to check the resilience of networks, systems, or infrastructure against such attacks. This assessment can further help site owners intensify their cybersecurity defenses.

Victims of DDoS attacks

Let’s talk about some of the most famous DDoS attacks ever.

  • AWS attack (February 2020): Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw incoming traffic at 2.3 Tbps during the attack.
  • DDoS attack on GitHub (February 2018): The attack reached 1.3 Tbps and sent packets at 126.9 million/ second. No botnets were used; attackers used the amplification effect of a popular database caching system called Memcached.
  • Dyn Attack (October 2016) – Dyn, a primary DNS provider, suffered a DDoS attack in October 2016. It disrupted sites like Netflix, Airbnb, and PayPal using malware like Mirai.

What’s the Difference Between a Brute Force Attack and a DDoS Attack?

Two names often come up when compromising a WordPress site’s security: the brute force attack and the DDoS attack. Both attacks use server resources intensively, so their symptoms may look similar. However, for a website owner, it is crucial to know the difference between the two.

A DDoS attack is carried out to put an online service or website out of action by overwhelming it with many requests. The overload can strain servers or resources or cause websites to crash. What’s important to understand here is that a DDoS attack’s goal is not necessarily to compromise the system or gain unauthorized access.

On the other hand, a Brute Force attack aims to gain unauthorized access to a system. It does this by using different combinations of usernames and passwords, which allows it to access sensitive resources and information.

How Does A DDoS Attack Work?

How Does A DDoS Attack Work?

A DDoS attack floods a target system – a service or network with overwhelming traffic- disrupting operations. In turn, it makes the service inaccessible for users. Here’s how a DDoS attack typically works

Botnet Formation

In this case, the attacker assembles a network of compromised servers, computers, or IoT devices, known as botnets. These botnets are then infected with malware that provides access to hackers to control remote devices.

Command and Control

The hacker issues commands to the botnet, instructing the compromised devices to launch attacks against the target device. The commands specify the target’s IP address, domain name, attack type, and duration.

Traffic Generation

The compromised devices in the botnet start generating massive volumes of traffic, which can take various forms, such as UDP packets, HTTP requests, and ICMP packets.

Overwhelming Resources

The traffic overwhelms the target’s network infrastructure, exhausts server resources, or saturates network connections. As such, it becomes slow and inaccessible to legitimate users.


Depending on the target’s resources, the impact of a DDoS attack may vary, as explained above.

Types Of DDoS Attacks

There are various types of DDoS. Let’s discuss some of the most common ones –

Volume Based Attacks

In this DDoS attack, hackers send bulk information through continuously downloadable packets, which uses up the server’s bandwidth and puts it under strain.

Application Attacks

Here, hackers use different machines/ bots to repeatedly request the same resource from the server they are targeting, which causes the target server to crash.

Protocol Attacks

In this DDoS attack, the attackers transmit continuous requests through fragmented packets or pings. The intent here is to overwhelm the network infrastructure resources like firewalls and servers. Attacks like ICMP/ UDP floods, SYN floods, and TCP connection exhaustion fall under protocol attacks.

Application Layer Attacks

These are also known as Layer-7 DDoS attacks. The attackers target the vulnerabilities in web-based applications by sending traffic to particular website sections.

How Do You Detect A DDoS Attack On A WordPress Site?

As it is rightly said that prevention is better than cure, to mitigate the impact of a DDoS attack on your WordPress site, you can observe some telltale symptoms and then take prompt action –


If your website has become sluggish or unresponsive, it may indicate that it is under a DDoS attack.

Sudden Spike In Traffic

You can use a service like Google Search Console to see if there are sudden traffic spikes. Furthermore, if an unexpected surge in traffic is coupled with unusual engagement metrics, such as a high bounce rate, you can suspect a DDoS attack.

Check for Errors Codes

If your website shows a server response error, such as error 503, it could indicate that the server cannot handle requests and could indicate a DDoS attack.

Website Crashes

If your hosting provider indicates no downtime or website crashes for no apparent reason, such as updates or scheduled maintenance, it could be that your website is under attack.

How To Protect Your WordPress From DDoS Attacks?

As we mentioned, if you suspect a DDoS attack on your site, it is essential to take crucial steps. Here are some ways to protect your WordPress website –

Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN distributes the content of your website across multiple servers globally. This reduces the risk of overload during a DDoS attack.

Sign Up For DDoS Protection Service

Specialized providers offer several DDoS protection services. These services use advanced detection and mitigation techniques to protect websites against large-scale attacks.

Related Reading: Compare WordPress Security Plugins and Which One to Use

Use A Website Application Firewall

Install a Website Application Firewall plugin or service that can help filter or block malicious traffic before it reaches your WordPress website. WordFence, for instance, comes with a rate-limiting feature to limit the number of users and automatic crawlers on a website.

Contact Hosting Service Provider

First, you should opt for hosting providers that offer inbuilt protection against DDoS attacks. However, it is also advisable to contact your WordPress hosting provider. They can provide you with the latest updates about the situation.

Update WordPress Plugins, Themes, and Core To The Latest version

As suggested in the case of any other software, regular updates come with security patches that are known to address vulnerabilities. Updating plugins, these, and core will make your WordPress site less susceptible to attacks.

Additional Advice – Use An Antivirus Software

DDoS attacks are often used as a medium or distraction to inject malware infections or malicious software. An Antivirus, too, in this case, can work as a second line of defense. T9 Antivirus, for instance, is one of the best antivirus tools for Windows PCs, and here’s how it can be a great tool when under a DDoS attack or after a DDoS attack.

  • Real-time protection against malware the moment it appears.
  • Multiple scan modes – With these Quick, Deep, and Custom scan modes, you can scan every location on your device for threats.
  • The updated database helps you stay protected from the latest malware and viruses.
  • The Antivirus comes with “Firewall Protection” that analyzes incoming traffic and delivers strong defense against potential vulnerabilities.

This review discusses the above features and other aspects of the T9 Antivirus.

Safeguard Your WordPress: Tips to Ward Off DDoS Attacks

Protecting your WordPress website from DDoS attacks is crucial for its safety and reliability. DDoS attacks overwhelm websites with traffic, causing slow loading times and errors. You can add layers of defense by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and a Website Application Firewall (WAF).

Regularly updating WordPress plugins and themes also enhances security. You can also consider signing up for DDoS protection services and consulting your hosting provider. With these precautions, you can safeguard your WordPress site and keep it running smoothly.

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